Baillie: Are taxpayers paying tuition to send elite to MIT?

August 18, 2016 at 8:28 am

FOIPOPs show multiple requests to province for funding – what was the response?


HALIFAX, NS – In April, Nova Scotia taxpayers were asked to pay $200,000 US to send Nova Scotia elite to MIT in Boston (Page 8).

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request obtained by the PC Caucus shows a request went to Stephen McNeil’s government asking them to pay the bulk of the tuition. The total cost at MIT is $300,000 US or $365,000 CAN.

The information from the FOI shows that in April, Dalhousie University went out “on a limb” (Page 10) to pay for the entire tuition fee, but was expecting to get reimbursed by the province and other government partners. As of July, it was still unclear who is officially footing the bill (Page 16).

Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie says Stephen McNeil should be upfront and honest about whether or not he has committed taxpayers to paying tuition at MIT for Nova Scotia’s elite. Baillie first questioned whether taxpayers would be paying tuition to send the CEO of Emera, the CEO of Clearwater and multiple senior bureaucrats to MIT on June 2.

“This is what happens when there is no economic development plan,” says Baillie. “Stephen McNeil’s government descends into chaos and confusion about whether it is paying the tuition for an elite group to go to MIT.”

Baillie says if Dalhousie University is stuck paying the bill, it will be a tough pill to swallow for students who are being forced to absorb a three per cent tuition hike for 2016/17 (Section 9).

The FOI also shows that the program was supposed to be announced publicly on July 13. It’s been more than a month and it still has not been officially announced (Page 17).

Baillie says the string of emails show a desperate government focused more on messaging and spin than on actual value.